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Water conservation is a great habit to implement in the home—aside from being a good practice for the environment, it also helps to alleviate your utility bill from extra costs. But sometimes, water restrictions or recommendations can happen beyond your own choice—this could be due to a local drought or similar emergency that strains demand and widely limits water supply.
This week, Governor of California Gavin Newsom declared a drought emergency after the state saw its second driest year on record. All California residents are being urged to reduce their water use due to about 87% of the state currently experiencing an "extreme drought" according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
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Whether your household has been urged (or ordered) to conserve water, or you're looking to simply reduce your household's water usage, here's what you can do to save water, all while remaining hydrated and keeping up with your hygiene.
1. Remain hydrated with plenty of bottled water
If you have a water outage or are only allowed to use running water at certain hours of the day, it's a great idea to have a backup supply of clean water for drinking, cooking, bathing or other household uses. Unopened, commercially bottled water is one of the safest and most reliable sources of water to have in an emergency—whether it's a water outage or a natural disaster emergency, you should always keep plenty of water bottles stored at home in case you need them one day.
Stock up on at least one gallon per person per day: multiply one gallon by the number of people in your family and again by the expected days you’ll be out of water. If you're in a pinch and don’t have enough water stockpiled during a water outage, you can grab some cases from your local grocery or convenience store. You may also be able to get them sent to you via grocery delivery services like Instacart or Shipt.
2. Stay clean with extra-large body wipes
If you can't access water or are restricted to using it at certain times, you may be longing for a long, hot shower. While we can't promise these massive body wipes will feel just as good as a warm shower, they do a great job in providing that post-shower freshness.
The Epic Wipes are a natural solution for cleaning off sweat and odor, without leaving any sort of uncomfortable residue. These extra-large wipes also happen to be 100% biodegradable as they're actually made from bamboo. With an average 4.8 rating, these wipes are your next best option to a shower—plus, they make great additions to any survival kit when you might not have access to a shower for a long period of time.
3. Refresh your hair with dry shampoo
Similar to the body, hair can start to feel dirty and greasy after skipping one too many washes. Thankfully, there are waterless solutions for that, too. Dry shampoo is a wildly popular product that can help treat oily, greasy roots without having to wash your hair—and while it's great for everyday use, it's an awesome go-to for when you don't have access to water or simply want to conserve your water usage.
4. Take care of your locks with a dry conditioner
Yes, dry conditioner exists, too. According to reviewers, this waterless hair product is a game-changer. This Detox Dry conditioner from Drybar turns dry, dull hair and transforms it into a soft, smooth and hydrated finish. It also features jasmine, sandalwood and Madagascar vanilla scents, which help to keep hair smelling fresh—even after skipping the shower.
5. Stay sweat-free with a powerful deodorant
If you need to go without a shower for a few days, you'll want a deodorant that can really pack a punch against sweat and odor.
The ZeroSweat antiperspirant deodorant is a clinical strength option that'll reduce arm sweat for up to seven days. The aloe vera-infused balm deodorant is loved by reviewers—one even says they like to use it for foot sweat, too.
6. Use a rain barrel to help with future water conservation
Before a power outage or water restriction happens—or, if you're looking to save water for environmental or monetary purposes—consider investing in a rain barrel. Rainwater is a valuable resource that often ends up going down your home's gutters.
You can make good use of nature's water source with rain barrels, which are large containers that catch and store rainwater that runs off of your home's roof. Rainwater from barrels can be used as a water source for lawn and garden irrigation, for example, which can make up nearly 40% of total household water use in the summer. This kind of water swap can significantly cut down on your water costs and waste.
Rain barrels are easy to install and can even be a stylish addition to your backyard space. This wicker-style rain barrel, for example, can easily blend in with patio furniture you own. Plus, it can hold up to 50 gallons and has high praise from reviewers on Amazon. For a more affordable choice, the RTS Home Accents Rain Water Barrel also has rave reviews for its authentic oak make and aluminum screen to keep pesky bugs out.
7. Use the dishwasher rather than doing the dishes by hand
Here's a myth you may have believed to be true: Washing dishes by hand, rather than the dishwasher, saves water. Here's the truth: Automatic dishwashers actually use far less water than hand scrubbing with soap and water, and there are plenty of studies to back this up. We put it to the test to see for ourselves and found that you're likely to use 3.5 times as much water as a dishwasher does. Talk about a huge dent in your water bill.
If you're in the market for a new dishwasher, we've tested and reviewed plenty of brands and models. Our current best overall choice is the Bosch 800 Series SHPM88Z75N for its quiet yet powerful stain-removing performance. We also love the Beko DUT25401X—it also boasts excellent performance and has plenty of useful space. It's Energy Star-certified, too, meaning it's strategically designed to reduce energy and water consumption, as well as improve overall performance.
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This article originally appeared on Reviewed: How to conserve water or manage with a water outage